Nov 2 2010

Joshua Walker News.Az interviews Dr. Joshua Walker, Assistant Professor
at the University of Richmond. What do you think about the place
of the South Caucasus in the geopolitics in the post-Soviet and
Caspian regions?

As for the South Caucasus, I find it difficult to speak about it as
about one region, considering the split between the countries here
and numerous problems. The South Caucasus was viewed as an arena of
the geopolitical fighting of leading superpowers not at random.

What can you say about Azerbaijan's role in this region?

I view Azerbaijan as a complete regional leader. There is a sufficient
potential for this. I, as a specialist on Turkey, consider Azerbaijan
to be an important factor for implementation of the new role of
Turkish policy in the region.

In addition, the energy component, the implementation of such
large-scale projects as BTC and BTE are making Azerbaijan an
independent player in the region. Certainly, the republic is not a
superpower, but it has a sufficient potential to play its game along
with superpowers.

What do you think about the current state of affairs in the resolution
of the Karabakh conflict?

If the conflict settlement is entrusted only to superpowers-the United
States and Russia-it will never be settled. But I see Azerbaijan's
determination to settle this problem. Like they say in my country,
"When there is a will, there is a way".

Do you think the conflict will be settled soon?

I do not expect the conflict settlement in the next few months, but if
we speak of the long-term period, I am sure that the conflict will be
solved. The current situation should not be preserved, the dynamics
of regional development does not leave chances for preservation of
status quo and this must force superpowers to act.

What can you, as the specialist in Turkish policy, say about the
effectiveness of the Baku-Ankara format in the resolution of regional
problems, be it the opening of borders with Armenia or the Karabakh

I believe the Azerbaijani-Turkish strategic alliance has a great
potential. Unfortunately, we have not seen any achievements in the
resolution of these problems in the past year, but the current level
of understanding of mutual problems between Baku and Ankara allows
viewing the future with optimism.

I think the key issue is the opening of border with Armenia, since in
case of opening the border Armenia will become dependent on Turkey.

But this has not occurred and the sides continue focusing on issues
of history.

Dr. Joshua Walker, Assistant Professor at the University of Richmond,
postdoctoral fellow at the Crown Center for Middle Eastern Studies at
Brandeis University and a fellow at the German Marshall Fund based in
Washington, Founding editor of Yale Journal for International Affairs.

From: A. Papazian